Consolation prizes for MassKara street dancers a ‘goodwill’ from mayor

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Councilor Jason Villarosa said the P100,000 cash prize to each of the consolation winners of the MassKara festival 2023 street dancing competition is a personal pledge of Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez and not included in the budget of the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation, the handler of last year’s festivities.

Villarosa confirmed to Daily Guardian Monday that as chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod  Committee on Tourism, he initiated an investigation on the matter after it was noted that the P100,000 cash prize was released in installments by BYF to consolation winners.

The first installment of P80,000 was released on December 20 and 21, 2023 and the second installment of P20,000 was received by the seven barangays as consolation on December 29, 2023.

The perceived late release of the cash prizes in installments by BYF has raised questions from netizens and other sectors.

This is why Villarosa initiated an investigation and met with BYF officials and with Mayor  Benitez.

Villarosa said he himself wondered why the consolation cash prize was only released to the winners last month when the festival was held in October 2023.

He said BYF officials told him that the consolation prize was not included in their budget.

Mayor Benitez himself confirmed the information.

He added the mayor announced in October last year that he would give a P100,000 cash prize from his personal funds to the barangays that did not make it in the top three.

Villarosa stressed that the mayor was so pleased with the outcome of the festivities that he decided to give a P100,000 cash prize to the non-winners.

“That is a total of P700,000 from the pocket of the mayor,” Villarosa.

Villarosa also said that they will work for the early granting of authority to the BYF  so that it can have substantial time to prepare for this year’s MassKara festival.

He also said that while the BYF has reported losses in the past two years it handled the MassKara festival, the city has generated billions in revenues for the duration of the festivities.

That is why it will still be the BYF that will handle this year’s festivities.

He also said that the BYF has submitted an initial financial report of the MF 2023 adding that “when the BYF submits a complete financial report we will furnish the same to the media.”